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The Pressure is On: No. 5 Asa Jackson

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The Pressure is On: No. 5 Asa Jackson

In the NFL, pressure is inevitable. Over a span of 10 days CSNBaltimore.com is ranking the top 10 Ravens who are under pressure heading into training camp. Check back daily to see who is next in our countdown. 

Why the pressure is on: 

Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb are both expected to be healthy this year, and the Ravens went out and signed veteran cornerback Kyle Arrington. So the bar at cornerback should be much higher than it was last year, when it became a revolving door. That's good news for the Ravens overall, but perhaps bad news for cornerbacks such as Asa Jackson fighting for a chance to play. In addition, a lot of eyes will be watching Jackson to see if he can replace Jacoby Jones as a return specialist. 

What Jackson needs to do:

He needs to show enough consistent cover skills and physical play to warrant time in the secondary, ideally as a nickel back against slot receivers. At 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds he doesn't have the size to match up with tall receivers on the outside, but in the past, he has shown the athleticism to play bigger than his size. Jackson also needs to take advantage of every opportunity in the return game. He has had some dazzling returns in the past two preseasons. The Ravens will be looking for more of that, as the return job is wide open.

First things first: Jackson needs to be available, which has been an issue. Jackson has twice been suspended for violations of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, costing him 12 games over his first two seasons. Then last year, when a starting cornerback job was there to be had because of injuries or ineffectiveness of others, Jackson could not stay healthy, with two trips to injured reserve.

The Rest of the List:

No. 10 Kyle Juszcyzk

No. 9 Crockett Gillmore

No. 8 Will Hill

No. 7 Chris Canty

No. 6 Eugene Monroe

Don't forget to check back daily for the rest of the list!

MORE RAVENS: BEST OF THE BEST - The Case for Ray Lewis

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Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

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USA Today Sports

Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

The Baltimore Ravens cancelled Saturday night's free open practice at M&T Bank Stadium due to a forecast that calls for heavy rain and inclement weather.

There is no official word from the team on whether this practice will be resheduled, but it seems like Sunday may be an option, even though there's rain in the forecast then too.

Ravens fans who were looking to see first-round draft pick and potential future starting quarterback Lamar Jackson will have to wait for another day. His presence at training camp, an inevitable competition with the incumbent, Joe Flacco, and potential two-quarterback packages involving both of them are set to be some of the biggest storylines of Ravens camp this summer.

As a Heisman Trophy winner, Jackson was one of the most dynamic players in college football during his time at Louisville. If he can replicate that kind of performance in the NFL, he will be at plenty more training camp sessions for Ravens fans to watch.

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

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AP Images

After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

This time last year, running back Alex Collins wasn't a part of the Baltimore Ravens.

After being released by the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the 2017 preseason, the Ravens placed the 23-year-old on their practice squad, and by Week 2, Collins was already making plays.

As the season progressed, Collins found himself as the Ravens' top running back. He finished 2017 as the team's leading rusher with 973 yards while Javorius "Buck" Allen followed behind him with 591 yards.

If the 2018 NFL season began today, Collins would likely be the Ravens' starter, which is quite ironic considering the fate of his 2017 preseason.

"I always go back to where I started and where I am now, and I use that as my motivation," Collins said after Thursday's training camp practice.

"No matter the day, no matter how tired I am, I think to myself, at this time last year, I didn’t know my position, where I was, where I’d end up. So just having that security behind it is definitely my motivation to keep it this way and keep pushing forward and keep trying to get better instead of being complacent.”

Over the course of 15 games, Collins proved he had the strength and speed to make an impact on the team after Danny Woodhead suffered a hamstring injury on the first drive of the Ravens' Week 1 game and Kenneth Dixon sat out the entire season with a torn meniscus. 

While job security is something we all strive for, Collins isn't getting too comfortable with the hierarchy. 

“I don’t want to say necessarily ‘comfortable,’ because when I use that word, it makes me feel like I’m too relaxed and lackadaisical," Collins said.

"I’m more focused. I don’t want to get comfortable. I don’t want the team or our group to get comfortable, because we just want to get better every day. So, in the position I am, it’s a great feeling, but I’m always pushing myself to be better.”

While Collins has set personal goals for himself – like a 1,000-yard season – he is equally as focused on making the Ravens backfield one of the best groups in the National Football League. 

“I expect that," Collins said on being the Ravens' starter.

"I would hope that all the other running backs expect [to be the starter] as well, and that’s what kind of drives our group – when we all know that we have that capability to be the No. 1 guy, and we’re out competing and push each other and try to be the best. No matter who’s out there during the game, you’ll see a productive play out of that person. So, I have that mindset. I want to be the guy. I have that fire in me, and I hope [that is] as well as the other running backs, as I encouraged them as well.”

Collins noted that he's coming into training camp a bit heavier. He added five pounds to his 200-pound frame "just to see how that feels," but is still maintaining the stamina and strength he's always had. 

Collins – who was one of several veterans released from practice early as the team begins to adjust their way into the extended preseason – finished his media availability with a friendly warning to fantasy football owners: "Draft me now before it’s too late, guys."

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